Johnny Manahan ashamed for 'dragging' Piolo Pascual, Maja Salvador to join TV5's SNL

MANILA, Philippines –
Johnny Manahan or Mr. M admitted he had to apologize to Piolo Pascual and Maja Salvador for convincing them to join TV5's Sunday Noontime Live (SNL).

Johnny Manahan ashamed for "dragging" Piolo Pascual, Maja Salvador to join TV5's SNL
Johnny Manahan used to direct ASAP for 25 years before moving to TV5's SNL

Following the recent cancellation of TV5's Sunday Noontime Live (SNL), Mr. M said he felt ashamed towards Piolo and Maja. The musical-variety show SNL aired its last episode last January 17, 2021, just three months since it began in October 2020.

Mr. M was the director of ABS-CBN's ASAP for 25 years before he was offered to direct SNL from the rival network. He revealed that when he accepted TV5's offer, he asked Piolo and Maja to join him on TV5.

"Kaya hiyang-hiya ako sa dalawa, e. I talked to them and I said, 'I'm so sorry for dragging you into this.' Even if they assured us at least six months, nine months pa nga dapat, e," he added.

UPDATECONFIRMED: ABS-CBN inks deal with TV5 to broadcast ‘ASAP Natin ‘To’ nationwide

According to Mr. M, both Piolo and Maja initially had reservations with the offer but eventually agreed.

"Piolo is a sweet guy. I don't think he has to work. He only works when he likes it. He's a sweet guy. I knew he had reservations about the show because it's in another channel. The same thing with Maja, she had reservations," he said.

"But they did it because I asked. I said, 'I'm here. Maybe we can do something there at Channel 5. Might be fun going up against ABS-CBN!'" Mr. M said in jest.

But the director explained that the reason why he wanted Maja and Piolo to join him on the rival network was because they were both "free agents" and had no exclusive contract with ABS-CBN unlike stars like Daniel Padilla, Kathryn Bernardo and even Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil.

"Kasi, they were free agents. Previous to that, ako'ng gumawa nu’ng contracts nila Enrique, Liza, Kathryn, and Daniel. May mga clause, ‘yung, ‘You can’t leave ABS’ clause, gan’on. Si PJ naman matagal naman ‘yang... wala naman siyang contract. Free agent siya. And then si Maja, nu’ng nag-lapse... sakto lang na nag-lapse ‘yung contract niya last year. Sabi niya, ‘Let’s do this. Sama ako sa inyo,'" he said.

Mr. M even admitted going against ABS-CBN's ASAP was not an easy task but they worked hard on it. On their first few episodes, SNL rated higher and they felt that ASAP was "scared" of them. He even recalled how ASAP prepared to go against them on their first episode.

"You know what, for a while, I think they were scared — scared of little me, little us... For the first show, pinaghandaan talaga kami. They put up this huge show with all the talents, including, I don't know, Charo Santos, Lea Salonga... the whole shebang,” he said.

Mr. M eventually admitted that he saw how different ABS-CBN from TV5 when it came to reaching more viewers. It was the network's weaknesses that lead to their show's ending, he said.

"We only had little Piolo, little Maja. But, I think for the first show, we rated higher than all those stars. Medyo kinabahan sila, first three shows. Then the weaknesses of Channel 5 began to show — their signal, some people didn't even know Channel 5 was on the air... They don't have everything, all the elements, in place, not like ABS,” he added.

Recently, speculations have arised that a TV5 and ABS-CBN tie up will happen soon. While details are under wraps, many assume that the reason why some shows ended abruptly was because TV5 was freeing some airtime for new upcoming ABS-CBN shows.

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